Authentic (Photo credit: Ara Pehlivanian)
Authentic seems to be the buzz word these days. The advice: “be authentic” is given every day in many ways—in blog posts, magazines, on television. I have never given this piece of advice to my sons, because I have no doubt that they are being authentic.
What does “being authentic” mean? I have to say that this short phrase has lost its meaning for me because it has been repeated ad nauseam. Does it simply mean “be yourself” or is it deeper? Is it a struggle to be authentic? You would think that it would be easy~ but if it were easy, then it would not be something that drops so eloquently and frequently from the mouths of many of the gurus of the day.
Authentic. Perhaps if we articulate what the word means it will help define exactly what being authentic means. My thesaurus (embedded magically in my laptop) gives these words as synonyms: true, reliable, dependable, faithful, trustworthy, accurate, genuine, real, valid, bona fide. Its antonyms are two very negative words: false and fake. The definition is: “Genuine and original, as opposed to being a fake or a reproduction.” (Encarta dictionary)
I get so tired of buzz words, but the meaning of this word is substantial. It has a right to roam the earth, but not as something that is spouted without context. It is good to be faithful and trustworthy. It is divine to be genuine and real. But sometimes we do adopt the false and fake to hide our authenticity because we are afraid if we let our true or real selves show through, we will be found wanting.
I want to be authentic—but I want to know exactly what that means. I do not want it to be a superficial “handle” to be bandied about at will. Authenticity is the basis of a life well-lived, but it needs support and acceptance. Those who are not authentic have found that being themselves is not “good enough”.
To be authentic we need to be brave, we need to be ourselves, we need to know how to take off the mask without fear. Sometimes it is hard to show your true self. It is much easier to be rejected for something you are not, then for something you are.
Does being “authentic” mean “wearing our heart on our sleeve”? Yes, I think it does. When we show what is in our heart we are being ourselves. We are being true, valid and bona fide. Or genuine.
Are you tired of being told to “be authentic”. Do you think it is easy?